The book is written with the ingenious narration by Gusto, the expiring socio-pathic drug addict. The opening scenes fully draws you in....you have to know what happens next.
Like all the novels in the Harry Hole series, nothing as it seems. The inter-relationships and deceits run deep and wide. Harry, while fighting his own demons of strained relationships with Rakel and Oleg and his struggle with Jim Beam, can't help himself, being a policeman is all he can do, even when no longer officially on the force. The bad guys fear Harry and try to assassinate him in nearly every conceivable way. This book has so many close shaves, it would be ideal as a movie.
My favorite scene is when a drenched Harry confronts Cato who is incredulous Harry's survived the special attempt made on his life.
Harry Hole faces his greatest fear, a future with Rakel and the worst possibility for Oleg.
When I like something I'll let you know. If I don't, I'll let you know that too!
If your have read the rest of the series, you must listen to Phantom. Harry returns to investigate criminals charges against his almost step-son. True to form, Harry gets to the bottom of it all (surprisingly without losing any body parts). I'm not going to give you any more details, because doing it could spoil it for you. For Nesbø/Harry Hole fans, this is a slam dunk, credit worthy, get it immediately purchase.
I love books!
Hollywood aught to make movies about these Harry Hole novels. This one was like all of the others, action packed from start to finish. Harry Hole is quite the character, a flawed detective like most crime thrillers. I highly recommend this series
I'll be short, because it would be easy to slip in spoilers. This is the best Harry Hole yet, and you should not miss it.
By "best yet" I mean in the order produced by Audible.com. The first Harry Hole has just been translated and released by Audible.com. If you can read it before this you should, but that's not strictly necessary.
It is dark, and poor Harry has a rough time of it. You think Mike Hammer got beat up a lot? He's a cream puff compared to Harry. The physical assaults are nothing though, compared to the assaults on his heart.
The translation is outstanding. If you did not know that this book was not written in English you would not guess it from this rendering.
Robin Sachs gets 5 stars even though, as you will discover in "The Bat", Harry's last name is not pronounced like a hole in the ground.
Lover of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mystery, and westerns in all media, including old-time radio dramatizations.
From my review of 'The Bat':
The Harry Hole character reminds me a little of Jesse Stone. He's definitely not your squeaky-clean hero. This series was recommended to me by someone who saw that I enjoyed Stieg Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" and its sequels, and I'm grateful that he did. The summary is that it was worth the credit, but I'm not yet hooked and pining for the next book. I've purchased the next available audio book, number 3 in the series. We'll see how it goes. If I don't get a little more out of it, Harry may have to go on the shelf for a while.
Keep in mind, when reading my opinions, that darkish detective fiction is not really my thing, so I don't have a lot to compare Nesbo's work. I thought it was solid believable fiction, and, like Larsson's, very well translated. It felt like it was written for native English speakers. In a number of parts, I was amazed see that the humor translates well. Someone did a great job. Sean Barrett's performance of the various accents was very good, but the voice of Harry never quite fit the character for me. Other reviewers have stated a preference for another reader as Harry, but as this is my first in the series, I can't say. Sometimes, when the reader of a series changes, the new one doesn't get a fair chance. We (fans) like of character's voices to stay the same.
If you like the genre, give Harry a spin. You won't regret the credit, and may get to really like him.
Review of 'Phantom':
Well, I'm not at book 9 of the series. I find that I do prefer Robin Sach's narration, and I've come to think of him as Harry. As always, he does a very creditable job with 'Phantom.'
My views on the series and the Harry character haven't changed. It's too dark for me. Each release in the series shows Harry giving in more and more to his personal demons - drugs, alcohol, and ruined relationships. I understand that there is trauma in real life, but real life usually has some ups and downs. Harry never seems that get off of his slippery-slope. In addition, I prefer my heroes to have redeeming values besides just a particular skill. The only consistent positive in Harry's life is his uncanny ability to solve crime. By book 9, Harry has dropped all pretense of caring anything about the rule-of-law. I find it disturbing when fictional characters like Harry are made into heroes, or at least examples of the real world. It doesn't have to be, and shouldn't be, that way.
I thought that Harry's downward slide might be a literary gimmick to keep us reading in the hope that there would finally be a turn-around, but after 9 books, I don't see it coming. I'm not likely to continue the series.
All that said, 'Phantom,' like the rest of the series, is solid fiction. If you disagree with my perspective on the character of Harry, and enjoy dark detective fiction, then you will probably like it.
Exciting plot, well developed characters. I've never used drugs, but the description of the drug addicts' relationships with their drugs seemed very realistic.
I don't know why I just could not get into this as much as the other Harry Hole books by Jo Nesbo. I love his style of writing, love the characters, love the narration for all the others, but this one for some reason I just stopped about 3/4 of the way through and could not pick it back up. Same narrator, same characters, same writing style - so why I couldn't hold onto the story I just can't say. I ALWAYS recommend Jo Nesbo and the Harry Hole series though. I'll try again after listening to another book, maybe it was just my mood when I started?
Tell us about yourself!
As others have said: if you haven’t read any of the previous books, this probably is not a good place to start.
Harry is once again drawn back to Oslo from his refuge in Hong Kong; this time to clear Oleg of a murder charge.
A good portion of the (early) story shows Harry clean and sober, employed in Hong Kong, feeling like a father to Oleg, and still in love with Rakel. However, following clues that only he can put together, he is quickly pulled into the dark underworld of Oslo drug trafficking. As the story proceeds, the usual Harry Hole adventure gets moving. He meets many unsavory characters and finds that even some police contacts can’t be trusted. Then he is badly cut up, shot, and damaged to the point that it seems he will drop dead at any moment.
Nesbo keeps us guessing who Harry can trust, what danger will hit him next, and if he ever be anything other than a “policeman.”
Robin Sachs portrays Harry Hole perfectly.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
This is the 3rd Harry Hole book I've read, and I continue to really be swept along by them. I liked this one because Harry is back in touch with Rakel, his "true love." I do have some questions about the old man/phantom character, and then the ending is pretty vague. BUT I think there is an opening there for another Harry Hole book. I did see something on the web about Jo Nesbo and a new book. I hope it comes out in English because I want to see what happens next to Harry!
This book is so monotonously degrading to its characters... all of them. A huge portion of it is devoted to the journalistic confessions of a villain who is in no way made compelling.
I stopped reading because I purchased a Harry Hole novel, not some weak homage to Poe.
Perhaps Jo Nesbo, like Henning Mankell (who finished off poor Wallander with senile dementia) has decided to weaken and degrade his hero as a means to freeing himself from the bothersome demands of his loyal readers . As another reviewer noted the novel leaves Hole with minimal chance of recovering health or love. Nevermind that a huge part of the draw of the series has been the readers hope that Harry who has sacrificed so much to protect the people in his life will at last find some rest and peace.
.Anyway, if you are new to the Harry Hole series, I highly recommend every one of the predecessors to this horrible book, but dont waste your money or your time on this baddie.